Thursday, May 30, 2013

Village People

Well, this has been a WEEK.  We had planned to take a four year old girl from Safe Families, and had decided that even though Hubby was going out of town on business this week, it should be manageable.  Then that placement fell through and they asked if we could take a five month old boy instead.  Well, somewhere between thinking we had already decided to take a placement anyways so why not and **sqeeeee!! baby!!** we sort of forgot about the business trip thing.  So I've been soloing it with four kids this week.  In all honesty, I'm glad we forgot, because we would have missed out on this little one, and he is just a ball of cute.

That said, being home all week with a 5 month old, 1 year old, 3 year old and 5 year old has not been 100% fun.  Add in that we all have colds and it has been unseasonably cold and stormy and you'll understand why we will be OH SO READY to get Daddy home tomorrow.  But in the meantime, we've done our best to have a good week.

The secret to our success?  Our Village People.  One day I dress as a construction worker, the next day I wear my feather headdress...
Sing it now...YMCA


No.  Not really.  A friend of mine said that she believes in village parenting...as long as they get to pick the village :)  We feel that way too, and are blessed with a pretty awesome village.  This week we've had friends come over bearing little friends to play with and food.  Both sets of our parents have been wonderful to feed and entertain us, and even mow the lawn!  We have awesome girls from our church who are willing to come and babysit for us.  Last night I let the sitter do bedtime for the three eldest and the baby boy and I went to Target and sat in the coffee shop.  It is super comforting to know that at any time I can walk across the street to the park to chat with a neighbor, or go in the backyard and chat over the fence.  It is those little moments that boost my spirit and give me that extra ounce of patience when the baby boy won't settle down, or the kids start bickering.  Even friends checking in on facebook lifts me up.
Watching some Downton together

And really, we got lucky on this one- this baby, besides being super cute (are you sensing a theme with all these kids we get?  All stinking adorable), he is a great sleeper.  He sleeps 8-10 hours STRAIGHT each night, takes good naps, and he enjoys watching Downton Abbey with me.  What more could I ask for?

And when he does get fussy, we've found his lullaby!

"Young man, there's no need to feel down
I said young man, pick yourself off the ground
I said young man, 'cause you're in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy..."


Saturday, May 25, 2013

FAQs


I have always been fascinated with foster families and how they make things work.  I am finding out that a lot of my friends and family are also equally interested, so I thought I would pull together a few of the common questions we get and try to answer them.  If you have other questions, feel free to ask them- we love to share about our work with Safe Families!

Do you get to pick the kids you get?
Yes.  Kids come to us in two ways- either we respond to an email or text that describes the need briefly.  For example:

"Safe Family needed for 1 yr old girl and 4 yr old boy, 2 weeks starting tomorrow, mom hospitalized with difficult pregnancy.  Can separate.  Prefer SF on NW side.  Call or txt Betty"

Or we get a call from the office asking us about taking a specific child.  I think they try to call a few families who might be a good match before they post the need, if they have time.  We can always say no- and have for a few kids who we didn't think would be a good match for our family.


Can you adopt the kids?
The short answer is NO.  Safe Families does not do adoptions and these children are not up for adoption.

In theory, IF a child in our care was deemed unable to return to his parents, the state would PROBABLY let him remain in our care while we worked to get our foster care license (40 hours of training, homestudy, etc).  Then, the parents would most likely have several years to prove that they can care for the child before their rights could be terminated.  Then we would have to qualify as adoptive parents for the child and eventually the adoption could be granted.  But the main goal of both Safe Families and foster care is to reunify families.

If we wanted to adopt a child, this is NOT how we would go about it.  I would never say never, but we are not doing this with hopes of adopting.


Do you know anything about the kids when they arrive?
One thing we love about SF is that they are super honest with us.  They tell us what that they know about the children and the situation.  Now, this is not always a ton of information, but it is usually at least a decent amount...age, basic stats and health, if the child has been placed with SF before, if the state is involved with the case, why the parent is requesting placement, etc.  They also do a great job of keeping us up to date with what is going on, and appreciate it when we let them know what we find out about the kids and the families as we work with them.

Do they come with stuff?
All of our kids have come with something, but not a ton.  They have all come with at least a few diapers and a couple of outfits.  We have bins of clothes in each size up through 6T and we just pull out what we need for the kids.  We have baby gear- bouncy seat, pack n play, exersaucer, high chair.  We stock diapers in most different sizes...at least enough to last us until we could make a Target run.  We have some formula on hand, and we have bottles.  We have extra carseats.  Everything they bring to our home gets an immediate trip through the washing machine...just to be careful.

Do you know their back story and their family?
Yes, to an extent.  We get the parent's phone number, and she gets ours.  With most parents, we text or call back and forth.  The contact has varied from one mom who called multiple times a day to another mom we never heard from.  It really depends on the situation.  Our goal is to support the mom, encourage her to get her life back on track so that she can get her child back where he belongs, with her.  It is not our job to do the tough love- the social workers are wonderful (and trained) to do that.  Mostly, we just share info about the child, remind her that her kiddo misses her and can't wait to be returned to her, and encourage her efforts towards progress.

The situation is a bit different if the state is involved...sometimes a child is placed with Safe Families while the state does an investigation.  In this case, we have to be a bit more judicious with our contact.

Do you keep in contact with the kids?
We have not been doing this that long, but we have kept in contact with a couple of our kiddos.  The moms call or text now and then, and we've done a bit of babysitting for our past kids.  Again, it depends on the situation.  We like it when we hear from them!

Do the parents know where you live?
Well, let's be honest.  Anyone with Google and ten minutes can figure out where we live.  They have our name and phone number.  If they wanted to find us, they could.  But that doesn't really worry us- at least it hasn't been an issue yet.

Do you get paid or get a stipend?
No.  This is a volunteer position and we provide what the children need.  That said, Safe Families has some wonderful donors and our family coach is happy to help us find what we need...be it clothes in different sizes or seasons than we have, formula, diapers, or car seats.  We've also had generous friends give us stuff as well.

What kind of reactions do you get from people?
We frequently get asked if they are all ours.  People have been curious- particularly when the child we're hosting does not look like us.  So far, all the comments have been pretty positive.  Lots of smiles, "good lucks" and "better you than me's."  But by far, the comment we get the most is: "Wow!  You've got your hands full!"

Which brings me to my exciting news...I have a real domain name now!

www.WeGotOurHandsFull.com

So there you have it...hope that was helpful or at least a bit interesting.  If you have other questions, feel free to ask!  And if this sounds like something your family might like to do, I highly recommend checking into it- it has been very rewarding and we really enjoy our work with Safe Families.  There is a great need for Safe Families and it is not that hard- I promise!

P.S. I have already written about two other common questions: Is It Hard to Say Goodbye and Is It Fair to our Own Kids?

Linked up:
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Sleep Manifesto


In light of getting a baby from Safe Families today, and (possibly) jumping back into the world of sleepless nights, I thought I would republish this blog post from my old blog.  It is one of my favorites!


Our Sleep Manifesto: 
The Greatest Sleep for the Greatest Number

Now generally we don't identify with communist ideals* here at our house, but when it comes to sleep, the idea works for us.  Whatever gets the greatest sleep for the greatest number is the way we go.  There are ten bazillion books written on getting children to sleep.  There are countless articles on the undeniable benefits/undeniable dangers of just about every sleep option out there.  Caring parents ONLY sleep with their kids.  Caring parents ONLY put their kids in their cribs.  Caring parents swaddle.  Or feed to sleep.  Or have siblings share rooms.  Or do kangaroo care.  Or bedshare.  Or babywear.  Or do bedtime in a swing.  Use crib bumpers.  Don't use crib bumpers.  Or a car seat.  Or drive their kids around at night.  Or set the car seat on the dryer.  Or give a bottle at night.  Or a pacifier.  Or use an apnea monitor.  Or don't.  

Baloney pants.  

Caring parents figure out what works for them and go for it in a safe and flexible way.  They realize that what works today won't necessarily work tomorrow.  And they don't judge other parents for doing what works for them.  

Some ways we have begged pleaded coerced bored swindled tricked soothed our children into sleep:

On Daddy

On a park bench

In the stroller

In the Ergo

On the airplane
Futon-a-thon

Being carried through a cave

Zipped into a plane bassinet

On the floor
Dressed as a flower

In a sling while big brother rides a horse

Great Gramma's lap- highly recommended!

In the baby swing

In a toddler bed

In the hospital

On the kitchen table

Camping, surrounded by stuff bags

In a carseat
Okay- this one definitely does not work

So in conclusion...do what works for you.  Do it safely.  And try to get some sleep.  Good luck!

*Upon further research, I have just learned that "The greatest good for the greatest number" is in fact a Utilitarian quote by Jeremy Bentham, not a Communist quote, as I had previously thought.  Who knew.

Linking Up:
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Patience


I am not a very patient person.  Now, when it comes to working with kids, I have a lot of patience.  I mean...you don't become a Kindergarten teacher if you don't possess a bit of patience.  No, I lack patience when it comes to things getting done.  Once I have an idea, I want to see that idea come to life...now.  Just ask my husband about moving furniture.  When I suggest we might rearrange a room, he knows that I don't mean "in the next few weeks."  I mean in the next few hours...or better yet, RIGHT NOW.  Luckily I married a patient man with a passion for furniture moving (okay, half of that is true!)

If God is trying to teach me more patience, getting me involved in Safe Families was a great plan.  I am not in charge, not in control, and nothing moves at the pace I would choose.  Our first placement was a two-hours-from-call-to-kid event.  While it was stressful for various reasons, it was just my style.  There was no waiting involved- we just jumped right in.  Adrenaline-pumping efficiency.  Boo yah.

Since then, our placements have been slower.  A call about a possible child, it falls through, a call about a different child to arrive today...no, tomorrow, no nevermind.  There are good reasons for all of this- placing a child should be (and is) taken on with care, situations change, all the details must be worked out, and parents should be able to change their minds.  These families are in volatile, crisis situations...I get it.  But it still drives me a little bit nuts.

We were supposed to get a four year old on Monday but that fell through, so then it was going to be a 5 month old on Wednesday.  No go, but we might get him on Friday.  This is really not a problem for any reason other than my anxious, git-er-done nature.  But I am slowly learning to roll with it and be flexible.  I am not in charge on this one- I am not the teacher, not the mom, not the oldest child.  I am learning to wait.  And I think that is a good thing.

But it still drives me just a little crazy :)

On the bright side, when I found out we were getting a baby on Wednesday, I cleaned my house from top to bottom in the world's fastest nesting phase ever.  So I may not have a baby today, but at least I have a clean house!  In fact, if someone would call and tell me to expect a baby every month or two, my house would be in great shape!

Anyways, we will get the kids we are meant to have- even if the timing is a little wonky.  So until then I am just going to take a deep breath and try to put my feet up...


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tricks to Control My Screen Time




A few weeks ago I took part in "Screen Free Week."  It was a great exercise that really helped me realize how often I use my gadgets every day.  I came away from the week happy to have my screens back, but also looking for better balance.  Here are three little things I've done to help control the amount of time I spend online.

1) I went through my e-mail inbox and "unsubscribed" to every e-mail that I have gotten in the past months that was unwanted or unread.  Goodbye Baker's Square Pie Club, AARP (why I am on their list I do not know...I get their magazine too?!), Early Childhood Conference Updates, Yahoo Group Notifications, Amazon Ads, Concert Series E-mails.  There were a LOT.  I easily spent an hour doing this, and I plan to be diligent for the next few weeks to unsubscribe to everything I don't want.

I don't know about you, but I have a bit of a Pavlovian dog response when I hear the "new mail" ding on my phone or iPad.  The fewer times a day I hear it, the fewer times I am once again pulled back to my screens.  Which brings me to the next one...

2) I turned off the notifications on my phone and iPad.  I don't want the pop-up facebook notifications, or google+ or pinterest.  I don't want dings or beeps.  I don't need to hear when I have an e-mail...I'll find it soon enough.

3) I went through my facebook newsfeed and hid posts from groups I have "liked" in the past and people I don't need to hear about every day.  I didn't unfriend anyone, but I ruthlessly cut down my newsfeed.  I also left groups I no longer participate in, and deleted a bunch of apps.  Now I get to the bottom of the feed much faster and spend less time puttering around on facebook.  I don't know what I'm missing- and so far the world continues to spin for me.

All in all, it took me about two hours to do all of this, and I am confident it will save me a lot more than those two hours in the future.  Besides, it feels kind of good to be in charge.  Take that, time-stealing-media.  You don't own me :)

Do any of you have good tricks for taming technology?!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Are You Overwatering Your Garden?



If your garden looks like this, the answer is most likely yes.  (look carefully)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Garden Journal #2


We've had a slow start to spring this year- we are about two weeks later planting this year than last.  Things are coming along, though...and the bonus is that we got the beds all tilled and planted BEFORE our lovely maple tree dropped its seeds, so hopefully we will not have to weed out quite as many baby maple trees this year.

Here is what we have going on so far:

Bed 0.5- New this year!  Rhubarb and Mint


Bed 1- Lettuce, Bok Choy, Kale, Spinach, Cucumbers and Zucchini, all planted and popping up



Bed 2- Carrots, popping up, Green Beans planted, Nasturtiums


Bed 3- 16 tomato plants and 12 pepper plants, planted today. Should have a nice variety- I got a little excited at the store and wanted to buy one of each variety.  Our favorite name is "Mr Stripey."

Front Bed- The bulbs are just about done and the sweet peas are starting to pop up.  We put in some poles for them to climb today.  The garlic is starting to come up as well.  Planted some Morning Glories on our trellis.

Berry Bed- 5 of the 6 blueberry bushes have leaves!!  The strawberry plants are REALLY happy and we have lots of green strawberries already.  We are trying to decide if we need to fence- not sure that a fence would keep out anything besides the bunnies...probably not worth it.

Pots- Lavender, Basil, Rosemary and a crazy amount of chives

Apple Trees- fertilized, full of buds.  One is leaning and needs a bit of propping up, but they are looking quite happy.  This will be our third summer with them, so we are hoping to get a few good apples!  Also hoping the Cherry tree has a better year...it is full of baby cherries, so we are optimistic.  PIE!  JAM!  MMM!

So....that's it.  Oh yeah, and we mowed the lawn...which is full of cucumber seedlings.  Loving this weather and this season!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

{this moment}



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A (Thurs)Day In The Life 3


Look- it is still Thursday for a few more hours, so this can be a (Thurs)Day In The Life post after all.  Not sure I would make that deadline.

Here's another random day at our house for you:


6:50- Wake, pleasantly surprised at how late it is.  Play around on the computer for a bit until I hear the kiddos stirring.

7:30- Breakfast of graham cracker cereal (graham crackers mushed up in milk is one of our faves!), followed by getting dressed, morning chores and heading out the door to piano lessons.

8:45- Quick stop at Target for coffee, creamer and some snacks for our playdate later in the day.

9:30- I wait in the car where the girls are reading and playing on the iPad while Lego has his piano lesson.  I run in to hear the last few minutes of his lesson and say hi to his teacher.  Her flowering trees are so gorgeous I could have sat there and sniffed them all day!

10:30- Arrive home, wait for our friends to come over for our standing weekly playdate.  They arrive and we enjoy some coffee while the kids play.  They play outside with the sandbox and hose and mostly have a great time with very little intervention from us.

11:45- Dish up pasta with sauce and fruit salad for all six kiddos.  Rotate them in and out of muddy, wet clothes and generally hang out.  I chat with the Safe Families staff about picking up our Little Guy for our weekend with him tomorrow, and also about possibly taking a sweet four year old girl for a month or two, starting on Monday.

1:45- Our friends head home, I put Bee down for a nap (not a hard sell today).  Pick up, check email and chat with my mom on the phone.  The older two go to "rest" in Lego's room.

2:30- Flower and Lego are begging for stamps and stamp pads...which is more agreeable to me than the playdough they first asked for, so I get that out for them.

3:00- Some friends from my mom's group come over for a playdate with their kiddos...about four moms and twelve kids, including mine.  We chat, let the kids play inside and out and serve up some animal crackers.  

4:30- People head home and my kids play nicely for a while.  I check in with Safe Families again, write a bit on this here blog, and talk to the husband about his delayed train home.  Hopefully he will be home in time for me to go to a freezer meal workshop at my friend's house- I have all the food prepped, so I really want to go!

5:00- Pop the kids into a bathtub- much needed after all the outdoor mud, water, sand, grunge play.

5:30- Fed the kids the super fancy dinner of cheese sticks and Ritz crackers.  My sister popped by to drop something off.  The kids and I watch the mama bird sit on her nest on our front porch and wait for Daddy to get home.

6:30- Hubby arrives home, I hand off the kids and wait for a friend to pick me up.  She and I load up our freezer meal fixings and head up to our other friend's house for our freezer meal workshop.

7:00- We have a great time chatting and mixing up freezer meals and chatting and drinking wine and mixing up freezer meals, but mostly chatting.  We finally roll back into the driveway about 11pm.  I put my meals in the freezer and fall into bed next to my snoring husband.

What a crazy, fun day full of friends.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mud Pie Clean-Up


It is no secret that my kids LOVE to make mud pies.  This means that nearly every day involves some combination of mud, water, sand, dirt, grass and other schmuck all over their clothes and shoes.  Now I love laundry as much as the next girl (NOT), but I refuse to spend hours on end scrubbing mud spots out of clothing.  So this year we are trying something new- a mud pie clean-up area right in the family room, next to the sliding door to the backyard.


I hung up five hooks, laid down a doormat and put a basket next to it.  On the hooks are some oversized black t-shirts I bought at a thrift store to cover up whatever the kids are wearing when they go out to play.  There are towels for cleaning up wet, muddy people, a doormat for dirty shoes, and a basket filled with sunscreen and hats.  I am trying to find a balance between letting them spend as much of their summer outdoors as possible and not spending all of my summer cleaning up after them.  We shall see if this makes a difference this year.  How do you manage clean up at your house?


Linking Up:
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Mommy Club Wednesdays
Spring Learning and Play

Monday, May 13, 2013

Words and Pictures

Sitting in front of my computer, trying to think of what I'd like to write about tonight, and I've got nothing.  Lots of swirling thoughts, nothing cohesive.  So I'll give you a few of my favorite quotes and a picture or two.  How about that?!




 






Friday, May 10, 2013

Author Study for Children


Author Study

One of our most favorite recent activities has been an author study that the kids and I have been doing.  I purchased the author study folders here, from Teachers Pay Teachers (which is an awesome website!), but you could also make your own author study as well.

Here is how to do your own author study:

1) Buy some folders (3 for a buck at the Dollar Tree) and three baskets.

2) Print off the author study pages (or make your own) and glue them onto folders.

3) Choose three authors to study first.  Take a trip to the local library and check out a bunch of books by each of your three authors.  Place the books by each author in a basket, and set the author folder in the front of the basket.

4) Over the next week or two, read through all your stories.  If you'd like, answer the questions about what the different books have on the author folder.  We also like to write down inside the folder which story is each of our favorites.  You can also look up info about the author, or read the book jackets.

5) When you are ready, return the first three batches of books, and choose three more authors to study.


Things I love about this:

1) My kids confidently walk into the library and declare "we are looking for books by Jack Prelutsky!"  or Ezra Jack Keats, or Mo Willems, or Jan Brett.  The authors are becoming familiar friends, and they can recognize them by their pictures as well as by their books.  Everyone who visits our home is immediately introduced to our current authors.

2) They are beginning to recognize different styles of writing and illustrating.  They even pointed out that one of Jan Brett's books, Hedgie Blasts Off, is a very different style from her other books-but it still has her favorite character, the hedgehog.

3) We are learning to find books in the library.  It leads to great discussions on how libraries are organized, how to alphabetize, and why some books are in the picture book section, and others are in nonfiction, or the poetry section.

4) The kids have started suggesting other authors that we SIMPLY MUST STUDY.  The creator of the folders includes blank pages so that when we run out of authors, we can make studies for other authors we like.

5) I have found books I have never read before (and I am a Kg teacher by trade- I have read a lot of kids books!).  There are books by some of my favorite authors that I never knew about!

6) My kids know a bunch of books and authors now, so when they are in the library, they have books to look for other than princess books and other television characters.  They still like those books too, but they make up much less of our checkout pile now that we know more authors.

7) The author study has led us down different paths- we did art projects in the style of Eric Carle.  We gardened along with Lois Ehlert.  Mo Willems had us acting out his Knuffle Bunny stories as a play.  It is a great starting point for lots of fun.

This was really easy to put together, and we have gotten hours and hours of learning and enjoyment out of it...and we're not done yet.  I hope you'll join us and try out an author study sometime!


Handmade Tuesdays
Take a Look Tuesday

{this moment}



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A (Thurs)Day in the Life 2

Here is another random day that I documented.  A FUN day!

6:30- Hubby gets up for work, the kids are starting to stir in the other room.  I check my e-mail and facebook and do some work on my blog.

7:15- Okay, I'm up I'm up I'm up.  Say good morning to the kiddos, head to the kitchen to dish up cereal and toast.  Discuss with Little Guy why we don't wring out our Cheerios onto the floor.  Fight a good battle with the lid of a gorgeous jar of raspberry jam that came in our farm basket this week.  After the third attempt I finally get it open and it is as good as it looks.  Yum.

7:30- Try to get dressed, discover all my pants are dirty...like attacked by children, smeared in food dirty.  Throw my clothes in the washing machine, get the kids dressed, do the girls' hair and get the older two ready for swimming lessons.  Empty dishwasher, sweep floor and wipe off table.

8:00- Help kids finish their morning chores- make beds, tidy rooms and brush teeth.  Try to remove Little Guy's feet from Flower's cowboy boots- he got himself REALLY wedged in there, but who can blame him- you really can't ride a rocking horse without cowboy boots!

8:30- Send two kids off to swimming with Grandma, finally get dressed myself, make my own bed and call the photo studio to make an apt for our Little Guy to get his pictures taken. They can see us at 11.

9:30- Put together dinner for tonight- we have friends coming over (yea!!), so I make lasagnas.  It takes longer than I'd thought and is completed with a crying child attached to each leg, begging me to pick them up.  Hard to drain pasta that way.

10:30- Put the little ones in the van, swing through the library to drop off some rather overdue books, stop at the 7-11 to get some bread.

11:00- Picture studio.  They are SO nice and incredibly patient at this place- and they know our fostering situation and don't give us the hard sell.  44 pictures in my hand when I walk out the door for less than $15.  Boo yah.  Now we have his picture to put up on our family picture wall, and his mom can have the rest of them.  My grandparents just moved up here (yea!), so they met us at the studio to meet the little guy and to help me wrangle Little Bee (who was thrilled to jump into the pictures now that it is NOT her turn to get them taken).

12:30- Home, quesadillas for lunch, clean diapers and naps for babies.  I sit in the rocking chair, ice my sore shoulder and mess around on my computer.  Love me some naptime!

2:00- The older two arrive home from swimming and lunch happy as can be.  Lego heads to his room for quiet time and Flower reads a few stories with me on the couch and then goes to lay down on my bed.  I try to pick up a bit, do up a few dishes from my morning cooking session and lunch.

3:00- Everyone is up and ready for snacks.  Feed them, let them play (not so peacefully- I am breaking up quarrels every two minutes) and hang around waiting for our friends.

4:00- Reinforcements arrive!  My awesome friend and her three kiddos arrive and get to work playing.  New faces are just what mine needed- they play nicely while we get dinner going and chat.

5:00- Feed all seven kids lasagna, bread and fruit salad.  Yes, we feel like lunch ladies.  Clean up the carnage left behind after the meal and get all the kids into their pajamas.  Brush teeth and lay out beds for everyone to sleep in.

6:15ish- All the kids are in their beds.  Boo yah.  My friend and I both take a laptop into a room and sit with the wigglers while they try to settle down.  She is also wrangling her 6 month old, who is not ready to sleep.  We keep this up for about 45 minutes.

7:00- The menfolk arrive!  Both of our hubbies arrive home together- they took the same train out of the city.  We heat up the "fancy" lasagna for us (aka the one with green things in it) and make some guacamole (they make the BEST guac!)  We eat ourselves silly and spend the next five hours chatting, eating and playing Minecraft.  Hey- what's fun enough for a thirteen year old boy is good enough for us!  We have a really great time, and trade off holding the baby, who also thinks it may be a bit too much fun to sleep through.

11ish+- help them pack up, carry the sleeping children out to the van and head home.  We pick up a few critical dishes and then hit the hay.  Will we be exhausted tomorrow?  Yes.  Was it totally worth it?  Yes.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Whole Lotta Lincoln


This past weekend we had the pleasure of meeting up with some wonderful friends of ours in Springfield, Illinois.  We have been studying the early years of America, and this little 36 hour trip was a beautiful addition to what we've been learning about.  To prepare, we read every kid-friendly Abraham Lincoln book we could get from the library, including our favorites- the Magic Treehouse series books about him- both the fiction book and the non-fiction guide.  We've also been talking about settlers and how they lived and made their homes. The second day we visited the capitol building and harkened back to our pre-election studies about the government.   It was so fun to watch the kids make connections between what we were seeing and what they had learned.  I will just do a good old photo dump here (in a strange order because I am short on time to reorder them!) with a few captions.  Enjoy!


We took the tour that included the actual Senate and House chambers.  I thought that was so cool!

The little ones took a lot of the pictures- love to see the world from their angle!

Stephen Douglas 

Awesome friends at the Lincoln Presidential Museum

A dollhouse model of Lincoln's house that we toured earlier in the day.

My children never can resist the call of water.  

Happy girl!

The children's room of the museum was full of great things- including Lincoln Logs, of course.

Checking out our current state officers

Dome at the capitol building

We went to Charlie Parker's...Hubby got the heart attack on a plate!


Every little girl should have a Daddy who puts flowers in her hair!

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Didn't let the rain slow us down too much!

Admiring "real" Lincoln Logs

The kids' view of Lincoln's home


The toilets were a hit